According to Better Business Bureau, nationwide three out of four victims of online purchase scams reported a monetary loss. As the global pandemic continued, online purchase scams remained the number one reported scam in the country, according to BBB’s 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, released today.
The median dollar loss rose 47.0% from $115 in 2020 to $169 in 2021. The payment methods with the highest median dollar loss were wire transfer ($1,450), cryptocurrency ($1,200), check ($900), and prepaid card ($700).
According to the report, nationwide, cryptocurrency scams jumped from the seventh riskiest scam in 2020 to the second riskiest in 2021. Although cryptocurrency scams made up less than 2% of scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker, the average reported loss was much higher than all other scam types: $1,200 versus $169.
|Businesses & Brands Impersonated|
Medicare, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook are among the top organizations and brands used for impersonation in scams in 2021. Amazon was impersonated the most, more than twice as much as the number two organization on the list, the Social Security Administration.
Time is Money
These scams had many non-financial impacts, such as lost time, peace of mind, and credit health. More than 44% reported losing confidence or peace of mind because of the emotional impact of being targeted by a scam and about 35% reported losing personal information. About the same percentage of people (55.5%) reported losing time as reported losing money after being targeted by a scam.
Tips to Avoid a Scam
Never send money to someone you have never met face to face.
Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages.
Don’t believe everything you see or read. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals, fonts, and other details on websites and emails.
Take precautions when making online purchases. Don’t shop on price alone. Scammers offer hard-to-find products at great prices.
Never share personally identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited.
Don’t be pressured to act immediately.
Use secure, traceable transactions when making payments.
Be cautious about what you share on social media.
For more highlights from the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, visit BBBMarketplaceTrust.org/RiskReport.
Go to BBB.org/ScamTracker to report a scam, learn more about other risky scams on BBB.org/ScamTips and visit our news feed.
ABOUT THE BBB INSTITUTE FOR MARKETPLACE TRUST
The BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) is the educational foundation of the Better Business Bureau. Our mission is to educate and protect consumers, promote best practices for businesses, and solve complex marketplace problems. Our consumer educational programs, which include a wide array of resources on fraud prevention and education, are delivered digitally and in person by BBBs serving communities across North America. You can find more information about BBB Institute and its programs at BBBMarketplaceTrust.org.
ABOUT BBB SCAM TRACKER
BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/ScamTracker) is an online platform that enables consumers and businesses to report attempted and successful acts of fraud. The platform also enables people to search the scam reports to help determine if a scam is targeting them.